In honor of Pvt. Nathan R. Oakes, CSA

150 years ago, my great grandfather, Nathan Richardson Oakes, served as a private in Company D of the distinguished 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment in the Army of Tennessee. He participated in the great Civil War campaigns, including the battles of Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Atlanta, Franklin, Nashville, and Bentonville. I am writing about his engagements as well as some details about fighting for the Lost Cause. I hope to honor him and commemorate the events and individuals that contributed to making this a renowned unit in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Skirmishing at Calhoun

Having been forced to withdraw from Resaca, Confederate Gen. Joseph Johnston positioned his Army of Tennessee at Calhoun on this date in 1864.

Late the night of the 15th, Gen. Patrick Cleburne had withdrawn his division from Resaca. With Cleburne's Division, Great Grandfather Nathan Oakes crossed the Oostenaula River, halting with the army north of Calhoun. On the morning of today's date, Cleburne formed his men in a defensive line of battle along the road to the town before being ordered to face a Federal force seeking a way through or around it. Joining Walker's and Bate's Divisions, his Confederates formed the rear guard and skirmished with the enemy while the main of the army rested for a few hours. Great Grandfather's 32nd Regiment was posted on a hill, supporting the artillery.

Source: Historic Markers Across Georgia

Since Calhoun did not offer an acceptable defensive position, Johnston planned instead to make a stand 8 miles south, just north of Adairsville, in the valley formed by the Oothcalooga River. He moved the army in the early hours of the 17th, while his cavalry under the command of Gen. Joseph Wheeler, fought a skillful rearguard action south of town.

Sources: Pat Cleburne: Confederate General, Howell & Elizabeth Purdue; Autumn of Glory, Thomas Lawrence Connelly; Military History of Mississippi, 1803-1898, Dunbar Rowland; Official Records, Vol. 38, Pt. 3

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